4 Profitable Steps to Running a PPC Campaign on a Small Budget

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Anybody who’s ever run a PPC campaign on a tiny’ish budget knows how easy it is for costs to get a bit crazy. You know you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but results are needed as soon as possible, so you feel stuck. It can seem like there’s not much that you can do and that there’s very little room for error. But from experience, I can tell you that you only feel this way because you have not realized that there is a better way.

Not knowing what you’re doing can not only lead to a poorly performing and ultimately unprofitable campaign, but it can also lead to losing a LOT of money.

Thankfully, there is a better, SMARTER way to run a PPC campaign. And that’s what I’m going to be sharing here.

I’ve used the strategies outlined below here at Swiftpage, targeting small businesses and medium sized companies. They are proven. And they work.

Here are the 4 strategies to use in your small budget PPC campaigns to get the most bang for your buck:

Focus your resources on one or two star keywords

Make a list of 4 or 5 keywords which are the most relevant to your business (those people are most likely to look for in an organic search). For example, if you are a business offering coach tours in Scotland, your top keywords would probably be “Scotland coach tour,” “Scotland tour,” “Highlands coach tour,” and “Highlands tour”.

Once you have these, pick one or two that will become your star keywords. To help you choose, you can use the Adwords (or Bing) keyword planner to determine what is the volume of Search and how much would an average CPC cost.

Once you have selected your star keywords, aim at becoming number 1 on this keyword (first ad to appear in the listing). To do so, make sure you:

  • Bid enough on your star keywords. As you will not be number one without doing this.
  • Test your ad until you find the wording/copy that generates most click-throughs. This is vital to the process, as over time it decreases cost.
  • Ensure your landing page is completely relevant to your ad. It is important that if you advertise “coach tour highlands” that your landing page will have relevant information on coach tours in Scotland. This also reduces cost over time as one of the pricing factors on these platforms is ‘quality score’, of which relevancy is a big part.

If you’re in an industry where almost all of the bigger keywords are just too costly to compete, focus your energy on ‘long tail keywords’.

Long tail keywords are the less frequent words used to access a website but which in aggregate represent the biggest source of traffic. For example, if the Scotland coach tour company is offering a tour of Scottish Castles, the keyword could be “Scotland coach tour Castles”.

This is a good strategy because long tail keywords generate quality clicks and the CPC is MUCH lower than top keywords.

Geo-target your ads

If you are a business operating locally or in a certain area only, you can target your ads to certain locations or regions. Or, if you know where your usual customers are based then you can target these specific areas.

For example: If the majority of your customers going on your Scottish coach tours are from abroad, you could exclude your ads from being displayed locally and only display in the countries where most of your visitors come from.

There is also an opportunity to target by things such as income level. There are sites such as Zoopla.com, and Postcodes.io where you can deduce from and get postcodes that are based on heuristics that fit your target profile, such as how much the people in an area earn, if you’re looking for jewellers for example, or whether there are schools around that area if you’re looking for moms.

Whatever other data best fits your target profile can also be used in this regard, so this is an opportunity to be creative.

Remarket your Ads

Remarketing allows you to display ads to past website visitors when they are browsing the web.

It’s a good way to stay engaged with your audience and to keep your brand in their mind. More importantly, your remarketing audience is usually an audience which is more likely to buy as they have been on your website. For example, in the case of the Scotland coach tour business, you could target people who have visited your shopping cart but did not make a purchase, or visitors who have been on your contact page but did not convert.

Remarketing CPC are cheaper than normal Adwords campaigns, so you have the opportunity here to dramatically reduce your spend. As you are also targeting people who have already in some way been acquainted with your brand, your chances of conversion go up. Thus again reducing costs.

Do not neglect Bing Ads and other smaller PPC platforms

Smart marketers know that Adwords is not the only game in town. Bing Ads for example, are displayed all across the Bing and Yahoo network. Bing and Yahoo (whose ad platform is owned by Microsoft, the company behind Bing) have together a market share of about 10% in the UK and 7% in Europe. In the US, Bing and Yahoo together represents over 30% market share.

There is often less competition on Bing Ads and the cost per clicks are much cheaper than on Adwords.

Bing Ads is structured the same way as Adwords so you can easily import your Adwords campaign into Bing. Other small PPC platforms offer similar benefits. As well as these, there is a lot more in the way of offers from these platforms such as free usage credits and great introductory offers, as they are often more eager for your business than a larger fish like Google.

These are strategies that not only make you money, they help you learn too

Every smart marketer knows that constraints, such as having a very small budget to work with, are never a bad thing. Even when that means that things will be a lot harder to do. As this gives us oftentimes the best opportunity to learn.

By focusing your efforts on one or two keywords, geo-targeting/retargeting your ads or even testing out the smaller, lesser known PPC platforms out there, you get the opportunity to really understand on a granular level how marketing is done - and in addition to this, you’ll also come to understand your customers better than you otherwise would. Because in this case, you have to.

Constraints will do that for you. :)